Customs in Calais erected 1936
San Francisco’s first Customs House, built in 1855
Burlington Vermont Customs House – Undated
Champlain NY/Canadian Border – 1957
Left to Right – 1. Canadian Officer, 2. Jack Curley OIC Immigrations, 3. Herwood Prevost Deputy CIC Customs, 4. George Warren Deputy CIC Customs Rouses Point, 5. UNK, 6. Eugene Lincourt District Immigrations OIC, 7. Bligh Dodds Collector of Customs Ogdensburg, 8. Canadian Officer, and 9. Martin Holden Asst Collector of Customs Ogdensburg
Customs Warehouse Champlain NY – 1982, Appraisement Division Occupies the upper floor.
The United States Customs House and Court House, also known as Old Galveston Customhouse, in Galveston, Texas, is a former home of custom house, post office, and court facilities for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and later for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Completed in 1861, the structure is
now leased by the General Services Administration to the Galveston Historical Foundation. The courthouse function was replaced in 1937 by the Galveston United States Post Office and Courthouse.
The building symbolized the importance and prosperity of Galveston which was Texas’ leading seaport and commercial city during the nineteenth century, and the port where most of the imported commercial goods entered the state. The city’s business community was primarily concerned with wholesale commerce, and furnished the trade goods for all of Texas, the Indian Territory, and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico. With rising
revenue from customs receipts, the United States Congress approved funds in 1855 for a new U.S. custom house.
Supervising Architect of the Treasury Ammi Burnham Young produced the original design for the building in 1857. Public officials immediately rejected Young’s three-story design on the grounds that it lacked sufficient space. A new scheme by Charles B. Cluskey (1805–1871) and E.W. Moore (1810–1865) was accepted in 1859. Their design was based on Young’s concept, but provided additional space for the Custom Service and Post Office.
The building was begun in 1860 and completed in 1861. The Boston firm of Blaisdell and Emerson built it in 114 days, an unprecedented accomplishment at the time. The extensive use of fireproof cast iron was revolutionary then and likely accounted for the building’s survival from the 1885 Galveston fire. During the Civil War, the Confederate Army occupied the building. In 1865 it was the site of the ceremony officially ending the war in Galveston. The U.S. Government resumed occupancy that year
after making extensive repairs. It served as a courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas from 1862 until 1891, and was then retired from court service for a time.
Significant alterations were made in 1917, when the General Services Administration added courtrooms and judicial offices to the second floor of the U.S. Custom House, which then became the Federal Courthouse, serving the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. This location would later become the seat of the Galveston Division, after congress added a second judgeship in the 1930s. The building continued to serve as a courthouse until 1917, and housed offices for federal agencies throughout the twentieth century. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. In 1998 the Galveston Historical
Foundation signed a cooperative agreement with the U.S. General Services Administration that permitted the Foundation to lease and rehabilitate the building for its headquarters.
The U.S. Custom House in Galveston is a simply detailed Classical Revival, two-story, brick building located near the waterfront in Galveston. The most notable features are the projecting double gallery on the west facade and the inset double galleries on the longer, north and south facades. The exterior walls are hard-fired, red-brown bricks with tan bricks used as accents around the corners and doorjambs. The prominent location at the southeast corner of Twentieth and Post Office (Avenue E) Streets emphasizes its importance to Galveston’s shipping-based economy.
Nearly all the original decorative elements on the exterior of the building are cast iron including columns, cornices, balustrades, dentils, entablatures, and window architraves. These elements from the specifications and designs of the original architect Ammi B. Young, were made in New York City and shipped to Galveston. The first-story galleries have Ionic columns set on a granite base. An entablature extends completely around the building separating the first and second floors. The piano nobile is larger in height, and the galleries contain taller, Corinthian columns and a cast-iron balustrade. A classically inspired balustrade caps the building.
The interior of the building is H-shaped in plan and was originally designed to provide space for the Customs Service and the Post Office. Extant original elements include the elaborate cast-iron, double-return stair leading to the second floor. The stair’s ornamental newel posts have an acanthus motif and fluted shafts set on octagonal bases. The cast-iron risers are pierced with a circular fret design.
In 1917 the U.S. Custom House was converted for use as a Federal courthouse and a courtroom was created on the second floor. The U.S. Custom House survived the Civil War and various disasters including the 1885 Galveston Fire, the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Hurricane Carla in 1967, and a boiler explosion in 1978 that resulted in the closing of the second floor for almost two decades. Although these events required
extensive repairs and renovations, the U.S. Custom House’s fireproof construction ensured the survival of its most significant stylistic elements.
In 1998 a public-private partnership was established between the U.S. General Services Administration and the Galveston Historical Foundation to allow for the restoration of the building by the Galveston Historical
Foundation for use as its headquarters and historic preservation resource center. Assisted by private donations, the careful and sensitive rehabilitation included the removal of 1960s dropped ceilings, the
restoration of the second floor, and the removal of the non-original interior wood shutters. The Galveston Historical Foundation formally moved into the refurbished U.S. Custom House in June 1999.
1857-1859: Supervising Architect of the Treasury Ammi B. Young produces the original design for the U.S. Custom House.
1860-1861: U.S Custom House is constructed based on the redesign by local superintendents Charles B. Cluskey and E.W. Moore.
1865: Occupied by the Confederate Army, the building is the site of the ceremony ending the Civil War in Galveston. The U.S. Customs Service resumes occupancy.
1900: The U.S. Custom House is damaged by the Galveston Hurricane.
1917-1918: A courtroom is created on the second floor for use by the Federal Courts.
1967: Following the repair of extensive damages caused by Hurricane Carla, the building is formally rededicated on June 17.
1970: The U.S. Custom House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
1978: A boiler explosion damages the building and the second floor is closed.
1998-1999: A public-private partnership results in the restoration and use of the building by the Galveston Historical Foundation.
Architects: Original design by Ammi B. Young, Supervising Architect of the Treasury.
Revised, executed design by Charles B. Cluskey and E.W. Moore
Construction Dates: 1860-1861
Landmark Status: Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Location: 502 Twentieth Street
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Primary Materials: Brick and cast iron
Prominent Features: Two-story galleries
Old Customs house (Erie, Pennsylvania)
Old Customs house is a historic custom house located at Erie,
Erie County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1838–1839, and is a
two-story, brick and Vermont marble rectangular building. The
front facade features a pedimented portico with six two-story,
Doric order columns in the Greek Revival style. The building
housed the post office until 1867, served as the Customs House
for the port of Erie from 1849 to 1888, and later housed a Grand
Army of the Republic post and the Erie County Historical
Society. It is now part of a five building complex of the Erie
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in
- “National Register Information System” (https://npgaller
y.nps.gov/NRHP). National Register of Historic Places.
National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- “PHMC Historical Markers” (https://archive.is/20131207
Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical &
Museum Commission. Archived from the original (http://
search.pahistoricalmarkers.com/) on December 7, 2013.
Retrieved December 20, 2013.
- “National Historic Landmarks & National Register of
Historic Places in Pennsylvania” (https://www.dot7.state.
pa.us/ce/SelectWelcome.asp) (Searchable database).
CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information
System. Note: This includes Keeper (July 1971).
“National Register of Historic Places Inventory
Nomination Form: Old Customshouse” (https://gis.penn
H.pdf) (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-12.
Media related to Old Customs House, Erie at Wikimedia
Old Customs House, 415 State Street, Erie, Erie
County, PA (https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/pa0449/):
5 photos, 14 measured drawings, and 4 data pages, at
Historic American Buildings Survey
Coordinates: 42°7′48″N 80°5′10″W
NRHP reference No. 72001122 (http
Added to NRHP January 13,
Designated PHMC November 1,
Retrieved from “https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Old_Customshouse_(Erie,_Pennsylvania)&oldid=952721873”
This page was last edited on 23 April 2020, at 19:18 (UTC).
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using this
Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.
415 State St Eire Pa. circa 1920
Customhouse and Post Office (Washington, D.C.)
The Customhouse and Post Office in Georgetown, Washington,
D.C., was completed in 1858 in a Renaissance Revival–Italian
Palace style. Construction cost was $55,468. The first floor was
occupied by a branch post office and the second floor by the
Customs Service. It was listed on the National Register of
Historic Places in 1971. It was already included as a
contributing building within the Georgetown Historic District.
It was designed during 1856–57 by Ammi B. Young (1798–
1874), who was Supervising Architect of the United States
Treasury. On June 23, 1967, the customhouse moved from its
31st Street location to a new building at 3180 Bladensburg Road,
N.E., Washington, D.C. A small branch post office remains on
the first floor.
The main block of the building is 61 feet (19 m) by 46 feet
(14 m); it has additions to the north and to the east. It has a low
United States Customs House (Fajardo, Puerto Rico)
The U.S. Customs House, (Spanish: Aduana de Fajardo), located at Calle Union, Fajardo, Puerto Rico, was constructed in 1930. The poured-concrete building is significant architecturally and historically for the role it played in the first, transitional phase of the American customs service in Puerto Rico, from 1898 through 1931. This period is bracketed on one end by the
cession, on December 10, 1898, of the island of Puerto Rico to the United States by Spain as a condition of the Treaty of Paris ending the Spanish–American War, and on the other by the completion in 1931 of the major building and rehabilitation program undertaken by the U.S. Customs Service following World War I.
Fajardo was in use as a port of entry at the end of the Spanish era and through much of the early American period. A small plain customhouse of the Spanish period is known to have exited here.
The United States Custom house in Fajardo’s Puerto Real was built in 1930 on a waterfront site which was originally directly on the beach, without a street. Today, the first and second floor of the building are used by the U.S. Custom Service and part of the first floor by the U.S. Postal Service. Part of the second floor is believed to have formerly been the residence for the customs port director, although the architect’s drawings indicate only office use.
The customhouse is a 2 1/2-story, rectangular-plan, poured-concrete and concrete-frame structure with a rear one-story-with-roof-terrace wing, also of concrete. The main portion of the building is 33’0″ by 49’0″ and the rear wing is 16’6″ by 49’0″. The waterside east elevation is three bays wide with an original entrance door in the northernmost bay. Each first-floor bay on the east and north elevations has a large round-arch opening. As part of the extensive alterations of 1975, the other two east elevation arches have been, blocked in except for small central windows and the corner opening last brick in the arch.
The two openings on the north left and center retain their original doors and decorative iron and grill work and Terra-cotta. The right-hand opening to the post office is a plain arch opening replacing the original
There is a Terra-Cotta string course with four crests between the floors on the east side. On the second floor of the east side, the end bays have modern paired windows and the center bay has one paired and one single metal window of 1975. There are three gabled dormers each with copper louvers instead of windows. The roof is covered with red Spanish tile. The south side windows have been replaced by glass blocks while the original double board door remains in the center. The north and present front elevation on Calle Union is a gable end and is three bays wide on the first floor, two bays upstairs. Above the filled-in attic fan window, on either end is a standard for a flagpole.
The building is in generally sound condition but with significant alterations made in 1975. There has been some modification of the original plan on both floors which has caused elimination of some of the architectural elements and the incorporation of new materials and techniques with no historical relationship to the building’s original appearance. These changes include the installation of wall mounted air conditioners and acoustical-tile suspended ceilings, removal of decorative ironwork, blocking of openings,
and replacement of original metal casement windows with modern metal windows. The second-floor east windows were originally steel casement-awning sash, with four sets in the center flanked by pairs at the sides. The south side had two pairs of windows and the north side was single windows. The casement windows are two eight-light casement sash topped with two four-light awning windows.
The first-floor plan of the building is based on the division of the space by a wall that runs the length of the building north to south and divides the space into two approximately 15′ wide rectangles that are then subdivided by partitions, creating small rooms and offices.
At the northeast corner of the building is the entrance lobby principal public space of the original building. Approximately 15′ × 10*8″, it contains a simple, single-turn staircase to the second floor along the west side and features a masonry rail. The southern wall contains an ornamented cashier’s window and door, all with wrought-iron decorative grilles. The door provides entrance to the general office behind. The floor is quarry
tile. The general office, approximately 15 x 22 feet, has a suspended acoustical-tile ceiling, as does the next and last room on this side, the port director’s office. The western half of the customhouse contains storage
and warehouse area, except for the northwest corner, which is partitioned for the U.S. Post Office, Puerto Real branch of Fajardo, located in what was originally warehouse space.
There is a small L-shaped lobby and two customer windows. The second floor is devoted to general working area and offices, along with a kitchen, bathroom and the roof terrace over the rear wing. A portion is believed to have been originally used as the Port Director’s residence, as noted. Portions of the terrace have Building description now been closed in or roofed. On the exterior, the first floor windows and doors on the north and east elevations are placed in large, slightly recessed arched openings, creating an arcade along the base of the building. Only the three doors on the north elevation have wood-paneled double doors. Only the original
east entrance door, the present north entrance door and the north center door retain their original decorative glazed tiles in the lintels over the door. Only the north left and north center doors retain the decorative iron grille-work in the arch. The north center door has also retained its original ornamental ironwork gate in front of the wooden door. Between the second floor windows on the north side there is a large Terra-Cotta U.S. Customs Service crest. On the east elevation the words, “U.S. Custom House,” are located in masonry letters above the first-floor windows. On the interior, the lobby retains its original, ceiling, quarry-tile floor, and steps with polished-concrete treads. The original ornamental iron grille survives in the upper panel of the door to the general office and the cashier’s window beside it.
The other floors are covered with vinyl tile, and the ceilings are obscured by suspended acoustical 2×4 tile.
On the second floor there are a few places where the original gypsum ceiling and simple cornice moldings are still visible. There is a ladder and scuttle opening to the attic, which is unusable space filled with roof trusses and concrete framing. The rear of the building is plain. The first floor initially had small, fixed, steel sash, now closed in. On the second floor, opening to the original porch, are five doors and three windows from the original plan. There is a 1975 iron fence around the north and east sides of the building, and a masonry wall is on the south lot line. There were originally decorative posts and gate at the south side of the building.
Ten of the twelve architect’s drawings for this building, by Albert B. Nichols, Architect and Inspector of Buildings, survive in the files of the San Juan Customs House.
Today: The United States Customs House in Fajardo, Puerto Rico still in active status under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Its mission is to enforce various provisions of the customs and navigation’s law. This building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places since February 12, 1988. The U.S. Postal Service Puerto Real branch moved to another location near the custom house at Calle Union in Fajardo.
King David Kalakaua Building
The King David Kalakaua Building in Honolulu, Hawaii is a
government building formerly known as the U.S. Post Office,
Customhouse, and Courthouse. It was the official seat of
administration in the Territory of Hawaii and state of Hawaii for
the United States federal government.
The building was designed in 1918 and built from 1921 to 1922
in Mission/Spanish Revival architecture. An addition was added
in 1929, and opened in 1931. Among other functions, it held
courtrooms and offices for the United States District Court for
the District of Hawaii.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
on January 27, 1975, under the former name as site 75000620. In
1978 it was also included as a contributing property in the NRHP
listing of the Hawaii Capital Historic District.
In December 2003, the federal government sold most of the
building to the state of Hawaii for US$32.5 million, upon which
the building was renamed in honor of King David Kalākaua —
last king of the Hawaiian monarchy. All federal agencies and
departments moved their offices years earlier to the Prince Kuhio
Federal Building near Honolulu Harbor, except for a small
section that retains a post office.
The building holds offices of the Hawaii state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. It is located at 335 Merchant Street.
- “National Register Information System” (https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP). National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
- Randall J. Biallas and Gerron S. Hite (May 22, 1973). “U.S. Post Office, Customhouse, and Courthouse nomination form” (https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/75000620_tex
t). National Register of Historic Places. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
- Dale M. Lanzone and Gary Cummins (Spring 1976). “Hawaii Capital Historic District nomination form” (https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/78001020_text). National Register of Historic Places. U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- Gordon Y.K. Pang (December 30, 2003). “Old post office assumes new role” (http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Dec/30/ln/ln29a.html). Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
- “Directory of Services” (http://hawaii.gov/dcca/dcca_directory_of_services.pdf) (PDF). Hawaii state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. January 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2010.